2 Linux questions: stock apps faster? Which version of Linux?

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Message 1983287 - Posted: 4 Mar 2019, 0:22:49 UTC

Hi-

I have an old Lenovo laptop running an Intel Duo Core 2 T7250 processor (this computer here). Currently its running Windows 7 32 bit. The processor is 64 bit, so its time for an upgrade in the OS.

I was thinking of installing Linux on it, even though I haven't used it. I'm under the assumption that the stock applications will run faster in Linux than Windows. Is that true? I've seen posts about GPU tasks definitely being faster; I just don't recall if the same applies to CPUs.

Secondly, which version would be best for this computer? Is Ubuntu 18.04 just fine?
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Message 1983314 - Posted: 4 Mar 2019, 2:26:20 UTC - in response to Message 1983287.  
Last modified: 4 Mar 2019, 2:28:09 UTC

The stock gpu app is SoG for both OS. So they should run the same except for the standard Linux benefit of being more efficient with less overhead than Windows. Guess = 5% performance gain for Linux. Same for the stock cpu apps which should be the same too since they come from the same code branch. Again, performance benefit of Linux over Windows ~ 5%?

Now going to Petri's and Tbar's special CUDA9 apps for Nvidia cards completely changes the game for gpu performance under Linux compared to the OpenCL SoG app. Expect 2X-10X performance gain over the SoG app.

But since we are talking about your laptop with just default Intel gpu, the Nvidia app does not apply. But there is always the option to run the optimized cpu apps from Lunatics also. You don't have the nice Lunatics Windows installer but you can easily change to one of the optimized Lunatics Linux cpu apps with a bit of editing of app_info.
I like the SSE41 app for both my Intel and AMD cpus. But again your Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU T7250 does not have SSE4 capability so you would be limited to max SSSE3 app which is not much different than the stock SSE3 cpu app. You can look at your Linux MB and AP cpu options at Lunatics.
http://lunatics.kwsn.info/index.php?action=downloads;cat=48


[Edit] I would say Linux distros with 18.04 are fine and have the longest support lifespan.
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Message 1983376 - Posted: 4 Mar 2019, 13:18:46 UTC - in response to Message 1983287.  
Last modified: 4 Mar 2019, 13:19:24 UTC

Bill,
Don't get your hopes up too much.
You can still upgrade Windows 7 to Windows 10 (free) believe it or not.

And the Lunatics Distro has a faster cpu app so you could try that out. I think it is faster than any of the stock cpu apps, even on older equipment but I am not sure.

Almost no one has had much luck with running the iGPU processor without slowing the whole system down. Who knows, maybe your system will actually increase production with it running :)

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Message 1983407 - Posted: 4 Mar 2019, 18:15:58 UTC

Keith & Tom-

Thank you for the replies. I might give Linux a shot, assuming it is relatively easy to install. I know its a bit different than Windows, which I'm not afraid of. As long as I don't have to spend half a day researching how to get it up and running I'm fine with it. I can see how the stock app works for starters, and then move on to Lunatics from there. Worst case is I get frustrated and switch back to Windows. This laptop is just a cruncher, so its not doing anything else important.

Both of you brought up the iGPU which I found interesting. I haven't been using it because I thought the swap file thrashed and caused worse performance. I suppose I can enable the iGPU and see how the performance changes.
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Message 1983416 - Posted: 4 Mar 2019, 19:12:40 UTC - in response to Message 1983407.  

Most laptops are weak on memory, so they have to resort to a swap file. Added to the problem that most older laptops used spinning media with slow access times, puts using the builtin iGPU at 2X disadvantage. I might try it but I wouldn't expect it to work very well.

Linux now has what they call a Live USB or Live CD installation. It gets the Linux Desktop loaded in a matter of minutes for you try out things without ever actually loading it to a disk. I would do that first to play around in the Desktop and get used to its differences from Windows. Then when you are ready to make the plunge, click on the Install Linux to your machine icon on the desktop to actually install it to your laptop.
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Message 1983420 - Posted: 4 Mar 2019, 19:31:08 UTC - in response to Message 1983416.  

Most laptops are weak on memory, so they have to resort to a swap file. Added to the problem that most older laptops used spinning media with slow access times, puts using the builtin iGPU at 2X disadvantage. I might try it but I wouldn't expect it to work very well.

Linux now has what they call a Live USB or Live CD installation. It gets the Linux Desktop loaded in a matter of minutes for you try out things without ever actually loading it to a disk. I would do that first to play around in the Desktop and get used to its differences from Windows. Then when you are ready to make the plunge, click on the Install Linux to your machine icon on the desktop to actually install it to your laptop.
Yeah, I'm not expecting anything great from the iGPU, but I might give it a shot anyway. However, the computer does not use all of its ram right now, I want to say 40% off the top of my head, so who knows.

I was not aware of the Live USB, that is pretty neat! I'll give that a shot first, thanks!
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Message 1983434 - Posted: 4 Mar 2019, 20:36:24 UTC - in response to Message 1983420.  

Yes, first you go to your favorite distro and download the .ISO file for the version you want to try.

Then get rufus which burns the .ISO onto a USB stick and creates bootable media. Then just select the USB drive the Ubuntu Live installation is on in the BIOS for booting and you will be up in running the Linux desktop in a matter of minutes. I think it is the fastest, easiest and least complicated to make a Live USB.
https://rufus.ie/
You don't need a very large USB stick either, a 16GB is plenty. Also when you get to actually installing to the laptop, you can select the minimal installation which saves on hard drive space as it doesn't install all the apps and the kitchen sink that the normal installation does. Saves about 4GB. But the full installation is only about 19GB.
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Message 1983449 - Posted: 4 Mar 2019, 21:34:46 UTC - in response to Message 1983434.  

You don't need a very large USB stick either, a 16GB is plenty.
Ha! I do have a 32 GB flash drive, but most of my flash drives are freebies from vendors that are 1-4 GB. 16 GB is a lot by my definition, but I'm sure that's because I use them more for Office files than for videos and photos. Sorry, I couldn't help but chuckle.

In all seriousness, your post was helpful. I'll have to give that a shot one of these evenings I'm free.
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Message 1983454 - Posted: 4 Mar 2019, 21:56:06 UTC - in response to Message 1983449.  
Last modified: 4 Mar 2019, 22:15:45 UTC

Well the .ISO is only 2GB, I think it probably can be installed in a 4GB. Just looked at my Ubuntu 18.04.1 Live USB stick. There are two partitions on it. A EFI 2.4MB FAT16/32 boot partition and the Ubuntu installation partition of 2GB size. So your freebie 4GB USB stick would work fine.
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Message 1988665 - Posted: 4 Apr 2019, 2:53:06 UTC - in response to Message 1983454.  

After many delays, I finally have a bootable version of Ubuntu 18.04! I was talented enough to get Rufus to wreck a USB stick that it was unable to be written or read from again, but I eventually made it!

I've only been playing with this for a few minutes here and it vaguely reminds me of whatever version of Linux I was using in college in the early 2000s, so relatively easy to use.

One question I have for now involves RAM. This laptop has 2 GB total, and with only Firefox running, about 1.8 GB is used up. Technically there is no swap file running, but I would assume that would change if I installed it to the local hard drive. I'm wondering if enough RAM would free up to run BOINC once I install. I'm sure that is a specific question with not a lot of additional information provided, but I thought I'd see what the thought it.
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Message 1988705 - Posted: 4 Apr 2019, 12:44:29 UTC

I am running SuSE Leap 15.0 on a HP laptop with a E-450 AGP and 8 GB RAM. It is running GPUGRID Quantum Chemistry tasks on 2 cores with python. The hard disk is a hybrid one with 8 GB on a SSD partition of a total 1 TB disk. Although not very fast and lacking a GPU board it is very reliable. I bought it in 2014 with SLES Linux 11 and upgraded it to OpenSuSE Leap 15.0, which has the same kernel 4.12.14 of SLES 11. But anothe Virtual Linux on a Windows 10 host has a 5.0.5-1 kernel and a Tumbleweed Development version OS. I did not download it but SuSE installed it as an update without warning.
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Message 1988754 - Posted: 4 Apr 2019, 17:21:50 UTC - in response to Message 1988665.  

After many delays, I finally have a bootable version of Ubuntu 18.04! I was talented enough to get Rufus to wreck a USB stick that it was unable to be written or read from again, but I eventually made it!

I've only been playing with this for a few minutes here and it vaguely reminds me of whatever version of Linux I was using in college in the early 2000s, so relatively easy to use.

One question I have for now involves RAM. This laptop has 2 GB total, and with only Firefox running, about 1.8 GB is used up. Technically there is no swap file running, but I would assume that would change if I installed it to the local hard drive. I'm wondering if enough RAM would free up to run BOINC once I install. I'm sure that is a specific question with not a lot of additional information provided, but I thought I'd see what the thought it.

That is a rather small amount of RAM to work with. Browsers are notorious memory hogs. The more tabs you have open the more RAM they use. Ubuntu 18.04 and similar distros have done away with a swap partition during installation and instead use a swap file like Windows. It is initially 2GB in size. So you will probably be accessing that quite a bit. So the seat of the pants speed of the laptop will likely depend on the speed of the storage medium you have in the laptop. If old spinning media as I assume, the laptop won't be very speedy for navigating or browsing around. But for just running BOINC still should be sufficient.
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Message 1988760 - Posted: 4 Apr 2019, 17:52:04 UTC - in response to Message 1988754.  

That is a rather small amount of RAM to work with. Browsers are notorious memory hogs. The more tabs you have open the more RAM they use. Ubuntu 18.04 and similar distros have done away with a swap partition during installation and instead use a swap file like Windows. It is initially 2GB in size. So you will probably be accessing that quite a bit. So the seat of the pants speed of the laptop will likely depend on the speed of the storage medium you have in the laptop. If old spinning media as I assume, the laptop won't be very speedy for navigating or browsing around. But for just running BOINC still should be sufficient.
Got it, thanks, Keith. This is just an old laptop I have laying around; it is used for crunching only. I did notice the memory usage when I booted it back to Win 7 was under a gig, I didn't check what the swap file was doing.

I could upgrade the RAM, but if I'm going to spend money on computers, it might as well be for something more modern. However, Newegg does have DDR2 memory for under $20, so I guess that isn't any worse than a case of beer.
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Message 1992246 - Posted: 2 May 2019, 1:28:53 UTC

Ok, I'm back on track! If you want the grisley details, the laptop I wanted to install Ubuntu on had a fan error. I took it apart, cleaned up and re-greased the fan, waited for the thermal paste to arrive, and finally got it back into working shape. I installed Unbuntu 18.04 last night, and today I started playing with BOINC.

I was attempting to have the same computer and computer ID for this laptop, just having the OS change. That did not take as you can see my list of computers. Is it too late to fix this? Before you answer that question, I did have the host name match prior to running BOINC. However, I did not have rpc_seqno match. I edited the rpc_seqno in the client_state.xml file. Now when I load BOINC, nothing happens. That is, it doesn't recognize even SETI, nor does anything come up in the event log.

Is it too late for me to match this computer ID with the old Windows one? If not, what am I missing? By the way, I aborted all tasks prior to changing anything in the client_state.xml file.

One more question. I installed BOINC version 7.9.3. I got this version from the terminal. Is this the latest "official" build? I thought I had seen other people using other versions, but I don't know if those are special builds or what.

As a side note, I had only used Linux in the past to run emacs and programs like Matlab years ago. I think the learning curve for this OS is a lot steeper than I expected. I knew I could use vi to edit a file, but I had to look up how to edit a file, then save a file, then how to edit a read-only file (sudo vim.....), etc. I'm sure there are reasons for all of this, but jeez, this OS is definitely not user friendly nor for the faint of heart!
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Message 1992253 - Posted: 2 May 2019, 2:51:43 UTC

I am using BOINC 7.8.3 on my SuSE Linux laptop and BOINC 7.14.2 on a Linux Virtual Machine running SuSE Tumbleweed, which is a development version. Science United insists in sending me mails sayingthat I should adopt BOINC 7.4.2 which is still the Linux official version but I am not going back.
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Message 1992263 - Posted: 2 May 2019, 6:28:13 UTC - in response to Message 1992246.  

Computer ID changes when you make significant changes to the system, both in hardware (e.q. Intel -> AMD CPU) and software (Windows -> Linux).
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Message 1992322 - Posted: 2 May 2019, 20:29:33 UTC - in response to Message 1992246.  

There are two things you need to do in client_state to revert a new Linux hostID to the old Windows hostID on the same machine. You did one it seems by changing the rpc_seqno value to the value of the last time the Windows host contacted the project. But did you change the hostid in the client_state back to the old Windows hostid?

The distro you are using is the one that supplied the BOINC package. It seems your distro has 7.9.3. I wouldn't change back to the older official BOINC distro of 7.2.42 as that is very outdated. You can get newer BOINC packages from the Gianfranco Costamagna ppa. Gianfranco does the ppa management and has the latest version 7.14.2 for the Debian distros back to 16.04.
https://launchpad.net/~costamagnagianfranco/+archive/ubuntu/boinc
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Message 1992326 - Posted: 2 May 2019, 20:47:33 UTC - in response to Message 1992322.  

There are two things you need to do in client_state to revert a new Linux hostID to the old Windows hostID on the same machine. You did one it seems by changing the rpc_seqno value to the value of the last time the Windows host contacted the project. But did you change the hostid in the client_state back to the old Windows hostid?
No, I did not. I'll have to "fix" that as well.
The distro you are using is the one that supplied the BOINC package. It seems your distro has 7.9.3. I wouldn't change back to the older official BOINC distro of 7.2.42 as that is very outdated. You can get newer BOINC packages from the Gianfranco Costamagna ppa. Gianfranco does the ppa management and has the latest version 7.14.2 for the Debian distros back to 16.04.
https://launchpad.net/~costamagnagianfranco/+archive/ubuntu/boinc
Thanks, I'll look there. I'm guessing I'll have to uninstall the old version of BOINC, then install Gianfranco's version, then change the settings in the client_state.

I know I'm a Linux noob and am still understanding how different this all is from Windows, but why doesn't BOINC just have the latest version on their website?
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Message 1992330 - Posted: 2 May 2019, 21:16:54 UTC - in response to Message 1992326.  

If you add Gianfranco's ppa to your software sources list, then a simple sudo apt update will get the newer BOINC version available for updating. You won't have to remove the old BOINC 7.9.3 version, it will just update the 5 main executables to the new 7.14.2 versions.

The reason why BOINC doesn't have any newer Linux versions is because we don't have a Linux developer. Only Windows developers. And the Windows versions are actually automatically made by an offsite mechanism called appveyor and automatically installed into the BOINC Join page. There is no automatic mechanism for Linux. The BOINC source code has to be compiled for each target OS and since there are no developers running Linux, no updates. I'm not sure why the developer's can't cross-compile for Linux. But the Mac users are in the same boat. No Mac developers are working for the project either.

So the BOINC developers simply inform the distro maintainers where the BOINC source code is available at github and then let the distro maintainers compile and package the BOINC package for each of their distros.
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Message 1992346 - Posted: 3 May 2019, 0:14:02 UTC - in response to Message 1992330.  

Interesting how there are a lack of developers for Linux for BOINC.

So wait a minute, as I'm looking at the client_state file, I noticed there are other entries, such as host_total_credit, and that is set to 0. If I leave it set to 0 and update the host ID, does that wipe out the credit I have been awarded for the computer in the past? Or is that gathered from the server?

Thanks for the hand holding. I'm trying to not ask too many non-SETI questions here. I know this thread is already getting off topic.
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